A Victoria woman has been named one of the top reservist riflemen in the world, after shooting her way to the top at an international competition recently.
Sgt. Tatyana Danylyshyn with the Canadian Scottish Regiment (located in Victoria) earned the title of one of the best reservist riflemen in the world at the annual Bisley commonwealth shooting competition in England last month.
This is Danylyshyn's third appearance at the competition and after placing second for previous years, she final hit the mark, scoring 1,012 points.
Danylyshyn (a former Sooke resident) was one of 20 Canadians who participated in the competition against more than 700 people from around the world. As part of the competition, she shot in three categories, from as far away as 500 metres in standing, kneeling and prone positions.
The 29-year-old learned to shoot at a young age from her father who was also in the military.
“I think when people get introduced to anything, how you get introduced really frames how you see it and we'd do picnics to the range,” said Danylyshyn. “We'd have sweets and hot chocolate and we'd just sit there and shoot balloons. It made it a really comfortable and enjoyable experience.”
As a teenager, she was a biathlete, but it wasn't until seven years after she joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment in 2002, that she took up the sport again.
“It trains people to be individuals, you can't group think your way through a shoot, you have to look at what you're doing — is this working for me? Is this not working for me? Everyone has different styles and different holds that work for them,” she said.
But last summer, Danylyshyn got into a car accident, where she suffered a concussion. It was her inability to do well in competitions following the incident that reminded her just how much she truly loved the sport.
“For quite a while I thought I wouldn't be successful shooting again. At my first competition after the crash I did terrible,” she said. “Just coming into it this year, I was really motivated to get back to where I was. I enjoyed it and that was the big change for me. It gave me the chance to appreciate how much I really like this when you think you might not be able to do it again.”
Now, most of her shooting practice comes from being in the military, the two weeks of training shooters get in the competition host city and shooting in her off time.
Capt. Randal Evans with the Canadian Scottish Regiment has known Danylyshyn for the past 13 years.
“The reason I think she's so excellent at it, aside from being very fit, is because she's able to focus. She can focus on what she's doing and can cut everything else out and focus on the task at hand,” said Evans, noting that she is one of the few women who have joined and stayed with the infantry.
“She's a great instructor and she can teach people to shoot. When we get her out on the range to help our guys shoot who are having problems, they always pass.”
During the competition, it's all about the target.
“At the time you're competing, it's really largely focused on just the immediacy of what's happening . . . if the wind is shifting to the right, you aim into the wind and have to be able to feel the wind on your face. Things that are happening moment to moment,” said Danylyshyn.
After being named of the top riflemen in the world, Danylyshyn said she will continue to shoot competitively. But she will also be taking on a new challenge: starting medical school at the University of British Columbia in the fall.